Lenovo's foray into the consumer space has been an interesting one to watch. It hasn't been afraid to try new things, yet at the same time it still carries the primary hallmark of its business line — absolute solid construction.
The Z560 looks a bit more standard fare than usual, but it's the little things that make it distinct: the curved bottoms of the keys, the patterned air vents and the not so common hardware Wi-Fi switch.
While the laptop has a plain glossy lid backing its 15.6-inch, 1366x768 screen, the inside has brushed aluminium and a black speaker grille that runs edge to edge. The keyboard is an absolute pleasure to use, another hallmark of a Lenovo, and the touch pad is decently sized and multi-touch enabled. The usual caveat applies here: only two-finger scrolling really works, the rest is unpredictable and best left off.
If there was one thing we'd have to criticise Lenovo on input-wise, it's the mouse buttons. They travel too far and have a mushy feel, something that flies directly in the face of the precision of the rest of the laptop.
Running off Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, Lenovo's also bundled McAfee, CyberLink Power2Go and YouCam, and jammed a Bing bar in Internet Explorer as well as a chat and video-conferencing tool called ooVoo.
Internally, the Z560 runs a Core i5 M460 @ 2.53GHz, 4GB RAM, an impressive 750GB hard drive, and runs graphics off a somewhat older GeForce 310M. Disappointingly, this means the Z560 misses out on Optimus technology, and consequently more battery life.
Ports are plentiful, with VGA and HDMI covering video, three USB ports (one of which is integrated with an eSATA port), ExpressCard 34 slot, a DVD+-RW drive, as well as headphone and microphone jacks. For communications, Bluetooth and 802.11n are present, although it doesn't support 5GHz networks, and the supplied Ethernet port is only 100Mb.
The Z560 is a mid-range unit, and it behaves accordingly. In 3DMark06 it achieved a score of 3719, meaning it should handle older games reasonably well. A PCMark05 score of 6753 places it very well for productivity and office work, too.
Despite not supporting Optimus technology, the battery life on the Z560 is impressive, managing to last two hours and 19 seconds with all power-saving features turned off, screen brightness and volume set to maximum and an XviD video playing back in full screen.
The Z560 is an extremely good mid-weight laptop, even though it cuts corners on both wired and wireless communications. We wouldn't hesitate in recommending it to those who want a great value, flexible laptop with fantastic build quality.